It is a blessing, having a new baby. She might cry so loudly that environmental health would slap a warning on her, but you can't overlook the fact that you'd rather that than have a sick, silent baby. You have to be grateful (through gritted teeth) for a healthy, loud newborn.
But I'm struggling with the laundry mountain. My other half is at home on paternity leave, and he likes doing the laundry. Or at least, he will put it in the machine and turn it on. He is quite happy to hang it on the line, after a day or two, and even gets irritable if someone else does it, 'wrong'. It's just a shame that that's as far as he'll go. When it comes to folding it into the basket and putting it away in the right person's wardrobe, that's my department, apparently. And even that is too much for me, right now.
And the laundry has always been the sort of thing you mustn't take your eyes off. If you turn your back on the laundry pile, or blink, even, you look back and it's doubled or tripled in size. And now there's a newborn....
I'd forgotten (blissful ignorance!) how much washing a baby generates. It's not just the leaky nappies doing their worst to vests, or the 'posseting' (vomiting to you and me) all over outfits you've just changed her into. It's the way she waits till you're changing her nappy, and have lifted her bottom in the air, and then wees, so that the urine runs back over her tummy and onto her clothes. It's the way she jerks back when she possets in order to aim the sick away from her muslin and onto your fresh-on outfit. When you've changed her two or three times a day, and yourself as well, you're well on the way to a full washing basket every day.
Sometimes I think it will defeat me. The laundry will be the straw that breaks the proverbial camel's spine. (And hurray for washing machines and tumble dryers; and respect for the great-grandparents who raised seventeen children without modern technology).
But there is something worse; something to make me appreciate my lot. I went to takea dark load out of the machine this week, and out came an unrecognisable grey item. On closer investigation I was able to identify it as a pair of leggings. Next came the three year old's jumper, covered in snow. I pulled more out of the machine; everything was dull and covered in something white. I thought at first that a rogue tissue bent on mischief had sneaked into the machine, but this was devastation on a catastrophic scale. Whatever had happened was far worse than a tissue's suicide mission.
At last, out came the culprit; a disposable nappy. I'm blaming the three year old for its appearance in the laundry pile, but I was the one who put it in the machine. The gel crystals had burst everywhere; I've never seen anything like it. They lay in every crevice of the drum, and freckled and dusted every item of clothing. The man of the house and I shook the laundry out, and took the machine and its filter apart to try to clean it. It took hours. And the clothes still look off-colour.
Suddenly a normal pile of washing (or four) doesn't seem such a chore, after all.